The nutritional elements are those substances essential to the development of the plant and its maintenance. Botany identifies about sixty nutrients suitable for the development and survival of any plant species, although in the practice of gardening and agriculture, 12 nutrients can be identified that are useful for the completion of many metabolic functions of plant species. Among these 12 elements we find organic and mineral compounds also contained in synthetic fertilizers that allow you to correctly dose the proportions of the various substances necessary for the development of cultivated plants.
Which ones are they
The essential nutrients for our plants are formed from the decomposition of organic substances, from the contact of inert substances in the soil and from the washing away of rain which allows them to be absorbed by the plant roots. When plants are grown in confined spaces, these nutrients must be administered from the outside which, due to the degree of importance they play in the development of plant species, are classified into primary macroelements (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium); secondary macroelements (calcium, iron, magnesium and sulfur) and microelements (boron, molybdenum, manganese, zinc and copper).
The main macroelements, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, are essential nutrients for the growth of the plant and for the performance of its metabolic and vegetative functions. Nitrogen, for example, favors the growth of the plant from when it is planted to when it becomes an adult; phosphorus stimulates flowering and fruit ripening; potassium improves fruit quality and helps the plant resist cold and disease. A deficiency of these main macroelements causes leaf necrosis, stunted plant development, yellowing and dryness.
Secondary macroelements, such as calcium, strengthen the plant, while iron and magnesium are fundamental components of chlorophyll, used by plants to carry out photosynthesis. Sulfur stimulates the vegetable synthesis of proteins giving a good flavor to the fruits. The lack of secondary macroelements causes yellowing or leaf chlorosis. Some of these elements must be carefully dosed. For calcium it is necessary to take into account the type of soil and cultivated plant. Some ornamental flowering plants (azaleas, gardenias, camellias, etc.) are called acidophilic because they do not need excessive calcium.
Nutritional elements: Microelements
The microelements, even if not essential to the nutrition of the plant, allow to regulate its growth and to perform its metabolic functions in the best possible way. Manganese and copper are constituents of chlorophyll. Molybdenum is involved in the growth and development of the plant. A deficiency in this mineral causes smaller than normal plants to form. Boron helps in the formation of seeds, flowers and fruits. Zinc is also useful for the formation of seeds.